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Power, Persuasion and Manipulation in Specialised Genres

Providing Keys to the Rhetoric of Professional Communities


María Ángeles Orts Llopis, Ruth Breeze and Maurizio Gotti

This volume focuses on the study of linguistic manipulation, persuasion and power in the written texts of professional communication, to go further into the understanding of how they are constructed, interpreted, used and exploited in the achievement of specific goals. Such texts are here contemplated from the stance of genre theory, which starts from the premise that specialised communities have a high level of rhetorical sophistication, the keys to which are offered solely to their members. In particular, the book investigates the communicative devices that serve the need of such professions to exert power and manipulation, and to use persuasion. The perspective adopted in this work does not envisage power simply as a distant, alienated and alienating supremacy from above, but as an everyday, socialized and embodied phenomenon. To attain its goal, the volume brings forth studies on the language of several professions belonging to various specialised fields such as law and arbitration, engineering, economics, advertising, business, politics, medicine, social work, education and the media.

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Power and Persuasion in Arbitration: East vs West (Maurizio Gotti)


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Power and Persuasion in Arbitration: East vs West

1.   Introduction

Dispute resolution is usually connected with the concept of litigation, i.e. the process of resolving a conflict by means of a trial in court. However, there are also other forms of resolving a conflict, avoiding an overt confrontation in a public space such as that of a court of justice. This procedure of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may take two main forms: arbitration on the one hand, and conciliation/mediation on the other. These two paths imply a very different role played by the professionals that are involved in these processes and determine a dissimilar degree and weight in terms of power and persuasion. While arbitrators play an autonomous and powerful role as the procedure results in an arbitration award, which is as binding as the decision of a judge of first instance, in conciliation/mediation, agreement is reached by the parties through the work of a neutral party, who helps them analyse the true interests involved in the dispute and uses his/her persuasive skills to lead the litigants towards a resolution of the dispute, without imposing any decision (Berger 2006).

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